What services can we offer to individuals with employer issues?
Our solicitors not only act for companies, but also for employees, consultants, directors and workers at all levels, through all stages of the employment relationship.
The employment team prides itself on offering accessible and sensible advice, guiding clients through the relevant processes, and have a full understanding of the type of issues that can occur in the workplace.
The team advise on the full spectrum of employment matters, including unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, settlement agreements, redundancy, discrimination and all disciplinary and grievance issues.
Settlement (compromise) agreements
When the employment relationship breaks down, one solution is for the parties to enter into a settlement agreement. This is a legally binding agreement whereby the employer usually agrees to pay the employee a lump sum in return for the employee agreeing to waive their rights to pursue a legal claim.
Our employment team is very experienced at taking on settlement agreements and act for employees at all levels. We pride ourselves in explaining any technicalities in plain English and can advise you of the various options available to you.
We will be able to advise you on:
- Whether the situation gives rise to any claims against the employer, and whether the settlement agreement provides for appropriate compensation
- What claims you are promising to waive
- If you are to be bound in the future by any restrictions in terms of restraint of trade obligations
- What you are and are not permitted to disclose about the settlement agreement to other people
Your employer will usually (but does not have to) provide a contribution towards your legal fees and in the majority of cases where the agreement is not contested this will be sufficient to cover the whole bill. For the avoidance of doubt, although they may be paying our invoice, the employer is not connected with us and we are acting solely in your best interests.
We understand that your settlement agreement is important to you and will aim to take as much of the stress away as possible by negotiating with your employer on your behalf where necessary. Ultimately, our aim is to ensure that you receive the best outcome possible.
Constructive dismissal occurs when you are forced to resign from your employment due to a fundamental breach of the employment contract by your employer.
The behaviour of your employer must have constituted either a serious, one-off breach of contract, or an accumulation of incidents which together amount to unreasonable behaviour. To successfully claim for constructive dismissal, you must be able to show that your employment contract has been breached in such a way that had the effect of making your position untenable. Resignation in such circumstances is a significant step, so you should take advice on your situation as early as possible.
We can assist with all types of dismissal claims against employers, as our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to advise you on the best way forward.
Bullying and harassment
Suffering from bullying or harassment in the workplace can be a devastating reality for many employees, who fear that complaining about it could make the problem worse, or even lead to them losing their job.
If you feel unsupported by your employer, taking advice early can help you not only to understand your rights but how the problem can be tackled without fear of recriminations or of losing your job.
We offer expert legal advice to employees facing bullying and harassment at work, as well as advising employees facing claims they were implicated in bullying or harassment of a colleague. We can offer you guidance and support to help you decide how to proceed; whether you make a complaint under the employer’s grievance procedure, initiate a “without prejudice” discussion for a negotiated exit or bring a claim before an employment tribunal and, if so, what the potential claim should be.
For a worker finding themselves on the receiving end of discriminatory treatment, the experience can be very distressing. Discrimination in the workplace involves being treated less favourably than others because of a “protected characteristic” such as:
- Maternity or pregnancy
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Religion or beliefs
- Sexual orientation
- Gender reassignment
The legal safeguards not to be discriminated against apply to all stages of employment including recruitment, promotion and terminations.
We will review your case and advise you on its merits. If your claim succeeds, you could receive compensation for losses you have suffered.
Discrimination is a challenging area of law. At NA law you will benefit from the counsel of a specialist employment lawyer who understands the stresses you are likely to be under.
We will be happy to steer you through each stage of the legal process, providing open, practical, cost-effective advice in plain English. We will support you through the process and offer choices, and our service is 100% confidential.
If you require more information, or have any questions about discrimination, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Family leave rights
The law on family leave, maternity, paternity and adoption rights can be complex, and as such it can be easy for employers and employees to make a mistake.
Having a child is an exciting time but it can also raise a wide range of workforce issues, including:
- Ensuring you are safe at work during pregnancy – your employer is under a duty to carry out a risk assessment once you have given them written notification of the pregnancy
- Allowing time off to attend appointments
- Unpaid/emergency leave
- Pay and benefits
- Your role and working hours when you return after a period of leave
Employees are afforded various family-friendly rights and entitlements, but we understand that this is not a time when you want or expect to enter into disputes with your employer about your maternity leave.
Unfortunately, some people do suffer from discrimination on the grounds of their maternity/paternity rights. This can include:
- Refused requests for flexible working. You have the right to apply to change working patterns
- Redundancy when you are selected as a result of pregnancy
- Failure to carry out the risk assessment
- Being sidelined due to a pregnancy
- Restructuring whilst you are on family leave.
If you believe that your rights are being breached, or you simply want more information about your rights, we can help you. Our specialist employment team has experience of successfully acting for employees in enforcing their maternity and parental leave rights.
We understand that the prospect of losing your job can cause huge strains on your life. Being made redundant can be emotionally and financially challenging. In certain circumstances, if there is not a genuine redundancy situation or if the employer did not follow a fair procedure, you may have a potential claim.
If you are being made redundant, or are unsure if you have a valid claim, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team for expert advice on how best to proceed.
You may well be asked to sign a settlement agreement. You should always obtain legal advice before signing a settlement agreement, as you are effectively signing away your rights to claim for unfair dismissal.
If your employer invites you to a disciplinary hearing, we can advise you on your rights.
The conclusion of a disciplinary procedure can range from no action being taken through to termination of employment. If the outcome involves termination of employment, you may be able to challenge the dismissal on the basis that it was potentially unfair. It is important that you seek legal advice at an early stage, so that we can best advise you on your legal position and options, as well as time limits that apply.
For more information on your dismissal rights, please get in touch with one of our expert employment lawyers.